The Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) has condemned the decision by the Lagos State House of Assembly to prescribe death penalty for kidnapping, describing it as disappointing.
HURILAWS said the decision is ill-conceived and will not achieve any result. “Several other states such as Edo, Bayelsa, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo have done same but it has not stopped kidnapping or any other crime,” the group pointed out in a statement endorsed by its senior legal/programme officer, Collins Okeke.
Okeke insisted that death penalty does not keep any society safe. His words: “It does not deter criminals. It may pander to the outrage of society but it does not abate or remove the crime or offence, which should be the interest of government. The best way to solve crime is to prevent it or at best apprehend the offender but when a criminal justice system is too weak to resolve crimes and apprehend offender, the penalties no matter how severe will have no deterrent effect.”
He therefore advised the state to rather than emphasise the death penalty as the panacea to kidnapping or any other crime, it should continue to build the capacity of law enforcement agencies.
According to him, Lagos state is a trailblazer in criminal justice reforms in Nigeria and therefore should not take a step backwards. HURILAWS as a result appealed to the Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode not to sign the proposed kidnapping bill into law.